Science Fair - Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists (Spare the Rock Records)

Album: Science Fair

Age Range: 5 to 10

Description: A kids' album, but one with ambitions.   Designed to raise awareness about the gender gap in science -- something happens between grade school and grad school -- the album succeeds that without forgetting that awareness-raising combined with dull music is pretty much a press release on a shiny disk.  A diverse set of musicians both kindie and kindie-friendly pitch in on a set of constant-surprising tracks.  Songs are both extroverted (the Nields' "Butterfly" and Wunmi's "Rainbow") and introverted (Frances England's "Goldilocks Zone" and Elizabeth Mitchell's recording of a Molly Ledford original, "Phytoplankton"), and typically focus on the questioning mindset of a scientist rather than nuts-and-bolts explanations of How Things Work.  Highly recommended.  (Listen to my NPR review here.)